D.C. attorney general sues Daniel Snyder, Commanders, NFL


In the culmination of an investigation that began more than a year ago, the office of D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) said Thursday it filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, franchise owner Daniel Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, accusing them of to have colluded to deceive and mislead customers about an investigation of the team’s workplace in order to maintain the fan base in pursuit of revenue.

“For years, the team and its owner have caused very real and very serious harm and then lied about it to avoid accountability and to continue to collect profits,” Racine said at a news conference. – So far, it seems that they have gotten away with it. But that stops today.”

DC Attorney General Karl Racine (D) has accused the Commanders, Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell of colluding to mislead DC residents. (Video: Reuters)

The lawsuit was filed in the Civil Division of the DC Superior Court. It alleges that the team and the league violated DC’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act with “public misrepresentations, omissions and ambiguities of material fact.” Racine’s office said it is seeking “financial penalties under the CPPA for each incident in which the commanders, Mr. Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell lied to district residents dating back to July 2020,” adding that the defendants “could face millions of dollars in fines.”

Svrluga: The commanders’ greatest threat, as always, comes from within the house

Racine’s office said it will also seek a court order to compel the NFL to release the findings of an earlier investigation, conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, from the team’s workplace.

“Faced with public outrage over detailed and widespread allegations of sexual misconduct and a persistently hostile work environment at the team, Defendants made a series of public statements to convince District consumers that this dysfunctional and misogynistic behavior was contained and that they were cooperating fully with an independent investigation,” the lawsuit states. “These statements were false and intended to mislead consumers so that they would continue to financially support the team without thinking that they were endorsing such misconduct.”

The team and the NFL denied the allegations.

“Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that an unacceptable workplace culture had existed in their organization for several years, and they have apologized many times for allowing it to happen,” said John Brownlee and Stuart Nash, attorneys for the commanders. . a statement issued by the team. “We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats many innuendos, half-truths and lies, we want this opportunity to defend the organization – for the first time – in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”

Also Read :  Thursday Night Football odds, spread, line: Jaguars vs. Jets prediction, NFL picks by expert on 31-14 roll

Goodell has said the league did not release Wilkinson’s findings because of promises of confidentiality given to witnesses. The NFL said in July 2021 that, based on those findings, the team was fined $10 million and Snyder’s wife, Tanya, the franchise’s co-CEO, would oversee the Commander’s day-to-day operations for an unspecified period of time.

“The independent investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders was thoroughly and comprehensively conducted by Beth Wilkinson and her law firm,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Thursday. “Following the completion of the investigation, the NFL released a summary of Wilkinson’s findings and levied a record fine against the club and its ownership. We reject the legally untenable and factually baseless allegations made today by the DC Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell, and we will vigorously defend against those allegations.”

The NFL and Goodell have said the findings of a second investigation being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White will be made public.

Daniel Snyder pledged support for the NFL’s investigation. His actions tell a different story.

The lawsuit comes as Racine prepares to leave office and is the result of an investigation that began in the fall of 2021. Snyder and the commanders are also being investigated by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and by the office of Jason S. Miyares (R) ), Virginia’s public prosecutor.

In addition, investigators for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia have interviewed witnesses about allegations of financial improprieties involving the team, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The team has denied any financial impropriety.

Racine’s office does not have criminal enforcement authority in the case.

The lawsuit says it “seeks accountability from the Washington Commanders, Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell for public statements, ambiguities and omissions that tended to mislead District consumers in terms of remedies, civil penalties and restitution.”

Also Read :  Witness: Bribes helped Fox execs get soccer TV rights

D.C.’s consumer protection laws allow for a fine of up to $5,000 for each misrepresentation, Racine said.

Racine said Snyder, the team, Goodell and the league “have every right to respond to the complaint,” adding, “They can seek to have our case dismissed. We will issue subpoenas. We will seek testimony under oath — depositions. I promise you. Let me just give you a hint: The depositions probably won’t take place on a yacht, but at a conference in the District of Columbia — because no one is above the law.”

The commanders said in a statement Wednesday that Racine “seems to be more interested in making splashy headlines, based on offbeat legal theories, rather than doing the hard work of making the streets safe” and cited the August shooting in Washington by Brian Robinson Jr., a rookie running back for the team. Later Wednesday night, team president Jason Wright said in a statement that the Chiefs should have kept the cases separate.

“It’s common for bullies to try to bully victims,” ​​Racine said Thursday. “It is common for bullies to try to bully even public officials. I honestly looked at that comment. It was not surprising. I held fire because I knew the crowd would have our backs. And boy, oh boy…the crowd got our backs.”

Daniel Snyder is considering selling the Washington Commanders

Because DC is not a state, adult criminal prosecutions in the city are handled by the US Attorney’s Office rather than the Attorney General’s Office.

Racine announced last year that he would not seek a third term. D.C. attorney Brian Schwalb was tapped Tuesday to succeed him. Schwalb won a three-way race in June, with Racine’s endorsement, for the Democratic nomination and was unopposed in Tuesday’s election. The office includes more than 700 attorneys and staff and is responsible for enforcing DC law through criminal and civil means.

“I’m pretty sure this case is going to continue to move forward,” Racine said.

As the district’s first elected attorney general, Racine’s tenure has included lawsuits and actions, large and small, that fall within the scope of his limited scope of office. Racine has gone after negligent landlords and unscrupulous businesses, with a focus on tenant and consumer protection.

But he has taken bigger swings too. In recent years, he has pursued cases against Facebook, Amazon, the Roman Catholic clergy in DC and President Donald Trump. He filed a federal lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers after the Jan. 6 riot and recently joined attorneys general in California and Illinois to block grocery chain Albertsons, which owns Safeway, from paying out $4 billion to shareholders ahead of a proposed proposed merger with Kroger.

Also Read :  Chastain and Bell by the numbers:

Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees, said in a statement Thursday: “Today’s civil complaint … is further evidence of what we have long known: that both the Chiefs and the NFL engaged in deception and lies designed to cover up the team’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse, which has affected not only the victims of the abuse, but also consumers in the District of Columbia. The filing of this complaint also marks an important step in validating the experiences of the brave women and men who came forward to share their experiences and to achieve, for the first time, a level of transparency about the extent of the abuse.”

Megan Imbert, a former producer in the team’s broadcast department, attended Racine’s press conference Thursday.

“Honestly, for the last 2½ years, this is a moment we’ve been waiting for,” she said. “We have sought transparency, accountability. … But fundamentally, I really want to see Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell accountable for what I believe was a coverup.”

The Commanders announced last week that Daniel and Tanya Snyder had hired an investment bank to “evaluate potential transactions” related to the franchise. The commanders did not specify whether Snyders is considering selling the entire franchise or a minority stake. A spokesperson for the team then said: “We are exploring all options.”

Among those who have been mentioned as potential buyers of the team are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post; music mogul Jay-Z, a potential partner with Bezos in a bid; Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage; and media entrepreneur Byron Allen. Actor Matthew McConaughey is exploring the possibility of joining or forming an investment group to bid, a person familiar with the situation said.

“The way the law works is that legal wrongs committed over a period of time must be vindicated regardless of whether there is a sale of the franchise,” Racine said Thursday. “This trial will continue. There will be liability unless and until it is settled. And if it’s settled, we’ll tell you everything we found.”

Michael Brice-Saddler and Liz Clarke contributed to this report.

  • DC Attorney General Sues Daniel Snyder, Commanders, NFL

    DC Attorney General Sues Daniel Snyder, Commanders, NFL

  • Stopping Jalen Hurts is a tall order. Here’s what the commanders could do.

    Stopping Jalen Hurts is a tall order. Here’s what the commanders could do.

  • NFL Reset: Team rankings, Saturday’s chance, Ravens’ threat, OBJ’s pick

    NFL Reset: Team rankings, Saturday’s chance, Ravens’ threat, OBJ’s pick


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button